Can Port Vale make it a double with an away win over League leaders Swindon Town? Here’s our preview…
If you’ve been on the moon for the past few days you will have missed the news that Tom Pope is suspended for this game after being banned for (shock horror) Twitter comments. In Pope’s absence, it’s likely that Mark Cullen (pictured right) will retain his starting place upfront although Richie Bennett also made a case with a goal for the reserves. Manny Oyeleke and Adam Crookes are both back in training but this match is likely to be too soon to see either feature in the first-team squad. Loanee Jake Taylor is also out injured so one of Will Atkinson or Tom Conlon is expected to start in midfield.
Home side Swindon Town will miss both Eoin Doyle and Jerry Yates from the side that played at Vale Park as both loan strikers have been recalled by their parent clubs. Town have brought in striker Hallum Hope from Carlisle United and he could feature in this game.
Apart from the controversy over tweets, the good news from the club is the news that midfielder Jake Taylor (pictured right) has agreed to extend his loan spell until the end of the season. Elsewhere, young midfielder Alex Hurst has agreed to remain at Bradford Park Avenue until the end of the season.
“It is about us, if we perform then we know we can beat anybody. We can also lose to anybody. Swindon will be looking to try to bounce back but it puts a little bit of pressure on them being at home. We can go there with a bit of freedom. It is a game you look forward to, it is going to be a big crowd and that usually brings the best out of us.”…”
Port Vale manager John Askey (pictured right) thinks the pressure is on the home side
The Valiants stunned the League Two leaders earlier this season when they won 2-0 at Vale Park. The Vale goals came from Scott Burgess (pictured right) and midfield partner Jake Taylor. On their last visit to the County Ground last season Vale managed a goalless draw. However, their record at Swindon in recent years is pretty awful with just one win in their last ten visits.
Port Vale have been pretty consistent in the League with just one loss in their last seven League Two matches. Swindon have lost two of their last seven games including that defeat at Vale Park in December. However, their home form is very impressive with just three defeats all season.
Managed by Richie Wellens, who was frequently linked to Vale in his playing days, Swindon are riding high at the top of the table. Familiar faces in their line-up include forward Keishi Anderson, defender Zeki Fryers and goalkeeper Luke McCormick. However, Swindon will be missing loanees Eoin Doyle and Jerry Yates from the side that faced Vale earlier in the season.
The Valiants are likely to face former midfielder Anthony Grant who completed a permanent move from Shrewsbury Town in the January transfer window. Grant, who spent two years at Vale, has made seventeen appearances so far this season.
Other players to appear for both sides in recent years include defender Ryan McGivern, midfielder Jak McCourt and striker Billy Paynter.
It was a real pity that the final game of Port Vale’s 1959-60 season brought in the lowest attendance of the season – 5,514 – as those present witnessed a comprehensive Valiants win over Swindon. Harry Oscroft scored four times, doubling his tally for the rest of the season while Cliff Portwood (pictured right) and an own-goal made it 6-0 to the Vale. Ironically, the next season Vale were to lose 6-0 to the Robins as they gained their revenge.